Friday, June 8, 2012

Emotions in Writing

Post by Dylan

I know it comes to most as a no-brainer to add emotion into their writing, but so many times it can come across as contrived. Recently, I read a novel, The King’s Blood, which had the raw emotions that I think all of us want to read and write. I actually physically felt for the characters at the ending; I could not remember the last time I had done that while reading. That feeling brings the reader so much closer to the characters and engrosses them in the story.

Characters should not merely be pawns to move from plot point to plot point. They should feel like real human beings, with emotions, feelings, biases and agendas. Too often I see characters that are always on the up and up, moving through the plot completely unscathed. Nowadays, there are so many strong characters out there that I do not feel any attachment any more because I always know that they will survive whatever circumstances they are in.

That method doesn’t evoke any emotion, and that is why as writers we need to make our characters more vulnerable. They can still be strong and rise to an occasion, but sometimes we need to damage our characters. That damage is what makes them feel like real people, because all of us are damaged in one way or another and characters should be no different. Just like us too we have our own morals, not all of us are righteous in everyone’s eyes, we pick different sides and so should our characters.

So let’s make a vow as writers to create characters who can evoke emotions. Ones who have layers and depth that makes us feel for them. Characters who go through a tragedy that makes us have a physical reaction; throw the book, cry, anything. Let us think through the eyes of our readers and think if what happens to our characters feels contrived and just needs to happen to the plot or if it will have strike a chord with our emotions. Because there is no substitute for pure unbridled emotion in a story.

Have you read any books that truly evoked an emotional reaction within you? Let me know in the comments below


Maggie said...

Great reminder to those of us who tend to want our characters to be better than we are ourselves.

Thanks, I needed that.

patti.mallett_pp said...

Yes, I needed that, too, Maggie!! And I'm putting this post in a folder so I can keep going back to read it again - and try it again!!

Yep, I REALLY needed this! Muchos thankos!!!

Dylan Book Reader said...

Maggie: I know, I always try to make my characters righteous and courageous. Except then I remember that they still have to be human beings and not above it all.
Patti: I'm quite flattered, thank you for the compliment. Also, you're Muchos welcomos.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good post, Dylan. Since I write mystery and suspense, sometimes I focus too much on the plot and tension and too little on the characters. Makes for a lot of rewriting.

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